Hi-tech agriculture cooperatives in HCMC are finding it difficult to expand production scale, while farmers are reluctant to make investments because of complicated procedures.
HCMC wants to develop urban hi-tech agriculture, and has promised incentives to encourage investments in agriculture.
However, farmers and cooperative complain they cannot obtain licenses to build supporting industries on agricultural land, such as net and membrane houses, warehouses and pre-processing houses.
These are important works to close the production chain, helping farmers increase value and selling prices, and fundamentally change agricultural production from traditional to modern methods.
According to Huynh Doan Thong, a farmer in Cu Chi district, big investments are needed to organize hi-tech agriculture production. In addition to irrigation system and automatic nutrient supply systems, they have to build houses to grow plants in order to protect them from external damage such as rain, insects and diseases.
|To obtain licenses, farmers have to follow procedures to change the purpose of the agriculture land use. If they don’t, their membrane houses will be removed without any compensation when the local authorities want to use the land for other purposes.|
To build membrane houses, farmers have to ask for permission. To obtain licenses, farmers have to follow procedures to change the purpose of the agriculture land use. If they don’t, their membrane houses will be removed without any compensation when the local authorities want to use the land for other purposes.
“It costs us VND4-5 billion to build a membrane house. High risks exist, and we feel insecure when making investments,” Thong said.
Dao Thanh Duc, deputy director of Phuoc An Production and Service Cooperative, complained that his cooperative cannot obtain license to build a modern preliminary processing house to make products for export. As a result, the cooperative can only makes products with existing facilities and products are only consumed domestically.
In the future, to fulfill orders for export, the cooperative has to have products processed at other facilities. By doing this, the cooperative cannot optimize profit, while it has to spend time to carry vegetables to the facilities which are far from the material growing area.
A report of the HCMC Cooperative Alliance showed that since 2016, the city’s agriculture department, relevant departments and branches supported seven modern agriculture cooperatives. However, to date, Tan Thong Milk Cow remains the only cooperative which has built a preliminary processing and packaging workshop. Other cooperatives still have not found premises for workshops.
Meanwhile, an official of the HCMC Construction Department said there are many problems changing the purpose of land use as required by the law, and it takes time to consult with the Ministries of Construction, Natural Resources and the Environment, and Justice.
According to Doan Van Thanh, deputy chair of the HCMC Farmers’ Association, farmers have no choice but to wait for guidance about standard procedures to change the land use purpose.
Vo Tong Xuan, rector of the Nam Can Tho University, a respected agriculture expert, says that many Vietnamese hesitate to buy organic farm produce because of high prices.